Nathalie Vandenabeele, founder of the Argentine tango academy in London

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in an airy yet cosy studio off Liverpool Road in Islington. I was one of ten men and women who signed up for a tango class for beginners. You see, there is virtually nothing I would not do to tell more stories about fascinating Ladies Who Impress.

NathalieNathalie Vandenabeele, who founded Tanquito Argentine tango academy with her husband Bruno, says she’s been dancing all her life. She studied ballet and contemporary dance in her native Lyon. But it was not until the couple moved to Japan, that they’ve discovered tango, attending a ‘taster’ class in Tokyo. This is when Nathalie and her husband, both marketing professionals, decided to travel to Argentina and learn to tango.

Buenos Aires has a uniquely eclectic cultural heritage. Tango is a reflection of that with its elements adapted from polka, waltz, mazurka and habanera, danced by immigrants with native-born Argentines. Nathalie and Bruno took classes, made friends with the locals, danced at milongas, fell in love with Argentine tango and hatched a dream to bring the passion of tango to London.

Tanquito opened its doors to tango enthusiasts 3 years ago, offering classes for absolute beginners, intermediates and private sessions.

I was very much impressed by Nathalie’s and Bruno’s knowledge and ability to teach: they made it sound simple and very intuitive, and before I knew it, I was dancing tango and I even managed a gancho or two (that’s the flirty hook up your partner’s leg). At the end, the teachers showed off with a final dance for the night, which was a sensual feast for the eyes.

Isn’t it remarkable that Nathalie’s job involves dancing with the person she loves several times a week? I’d say, what’s even more admirable is that she created this fortunate life herself.

Chatting to Nathalie after the class, I discovered that she and her husband regularly go to milongas in London and dance with other partners to add fire to their passion for tango. And, of course, teaching people to dance, designing her own tango clothes range and taking enthusiastic dancers on a trip to Buenos Aires does not feel like a job at all…

Do check out Tanquito and have a go. When was the last time you did something that brave..?

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